State of Idaho: Attractions, History, Interesting Facts, Cities

“The Gem State” – that’s how the northwestern state of the USA, Idaho, translates from the language of the Shoshone Indians. And it’s well-deserved! Picturesque landscapes take your breath away: here you can find rocky ridges and emerald-green plains, rushing rivers and vast lakes, deep canyons and forest expanses, agricultural fields and vibrant cities. Idaho is one of those states that borders Canada, which means it gets very cold here in winter: temperatures as low as -30°C are not uncommon for January.

The record for the lowest temperature in Idaho was recorded in January. In the midst of World War II, in January 1943, measurements at the Island Park Dam recorded -51°C. The highest temperature in the state was also observed quite a while ago – in July 1934, +48°C.

Despite all the splendor of Idaho’s landscapes, compared to other states in the country, it is much less populated. Here, there are only 22 people per square mile. The terrain is as beautiful as it is wild, so harsh Idaho is not suitable for everyone. After all, it’s a mountainous state with a rugged character.Boise

Brief information about the state:

  • Abbreviation: ID
  • Capital: Boise
  • State area: 145,743 km² (26th place in the USA)
  • State population: 1,841,377 people (data for 2021)
  • Minimum wage in Idaho, like in Iowa, is $7.25 per hour
  • Official state website: Idaho.gov

Idaho Attractions

The state is home to 30 conservation parks, forest reserves, fish hatcheries, and over 2,000 lakes. Part of Idaho’s territory (1% of its area) is occupied by the famous Yellowstone Park with the supervolcano. This volcano is famous for the fact that if it wakes up, it will wipe out half of the world’s population. But let’s believe that this won’t happen in our lifetime.

On the Snake River, three major hydroelectric power stations have been built. Interestingly, when they were constructed, the interests of the salmon, which migrate for spawning, were taken into account, and special “fish ladders” were built.

Snake river canyon
Snake river canyon

Idaho is famous for Hells Canyon. This is the deepest river gorge teeming with huge white sturgeons. The canyon is the deepest in America.

The south part of the state is famous for the beautiful Shoshone Falls (pronounced the same as the name of the Shoshone Native American tribe). The waterfall is so stunning and mighty that it’s unofficially known as the “Niagara of the West.” Shoshone Falls is 65 meters high, with an average length of 300 meters (depending on the time of year).

For hiking enthusiasts, the Oregon Trail is perfect – a picturesque route stretching 3,200 km, laid out as early as 1830. This trail had significant strategic importance in the exploration of the Wild West. Its route used to start at the Missouri River and led through the territories of several states straight to the Pacific Ocean coast.

The Oregon Trail lost its significance after the construction of the railroad in 1869.

History of the “Potato” State

Archaeological excavations indicate that life was bustling on the territory of this state long before the arrival of people from the Old World. In particular, arrowheads dating back over 14,000 years have been found.

Originally, these lands belonged to small nomadic peoples: the Shoshone, Kootenai, Bannock, and Nez Perce. Their existence was associated with some difficulties, such as the need to defend themselves against predators and survive in the harsh natural conditions of the “Oregon Country” – as these lands were then called.

Later, the indigenous peoples had to yield to the pressure of European expansion. The first explorers appeared here in 1805. It was the Lewis and Clark expedition, attracted by the opportunity to hunt for fur-bearing animals. The Indians had nothing to oppose firearms, and just five years after the explorers’ reconnaissance, settlers founded a permanent settlement on the Snake River.

Four states claimed the territory of modern Idaho: Russia, Spain, Britain, and the USA. As a result of a lengthy political struggle, meetings, and negotiations, understanding was eventually reached. The lands came under America’s auspices.

In 1860, when the fur resource was severely depleted, hunters were replaced by gold miners. The “gold rush” began, leading to an uncontrolled influx of new settlers, and the population in this district increased exponentially. In July 1890, Idaho gained the status of the 43rd American state.

Interesting Facts about Idaho

1. Idaho is known as the potato state. It’s here that one-third of the entire potato crop in the country is grown. However, agriculture is not the dominant activity in the region. The palm of primacy belongs to the scientific and technical sector (70% of income).

2. The state is home to the fairly well-known Potato Museum, both in America and beyond.

3. According to unofficial data, there are more cows in the state than people.

4. On the vast expanses of this land, there are many remote areas without artificial lighting. Therefore, it’s very convenient to admire the starry sky there. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated Idaho’s territories as dark sky reserves.

5. In Idaho, there was an official law passed that prohibited fishing while riding a camel, giraffe, or any other animal. However, this bill was later repealed.

6. The state can boast of having its own “moon corner.” The terrain in its central part became very similar to the surface of the moon as a result of a volcano eruption. Hollywood directors chose this area for filming movies with a fantastic plot.

7. There isn’t a single sports team participating in the top league here. However, there are many enthusiasts, especially notable are basketball, hockey, and baseball fans.

Major Cities

The largest city in the state is its administrative center, the capital Boise. Its population is approximately 226.6 thousand people. This metropolis largely shapes the region’s economy.

Despite the territorial expanse of 216,632 km2, densely populated areas in Idaho are few:

– Nampa – 81.6 thousand inhabitants;
– Meridian – 75.1 thousand inhabitants;
– Idaho Falls – 56.8 thousand inhabitants;
– Pocatello – 54.3 thousand inhabitants;
– Caldwell – 46.2 thousand inhabitants;
– Coeur d’Alene and Twin Falls – 44.1 thousand inhabitants;
– Lewiston – 31.9 thousand inhabitants;
– Rexburg – 28.9 thousand inhabitants.

There is a settlement in Idaho called Warm River, where only 3 people have lived for at least the last 11 years. Nevertheless, it is considered a city! Strange but true.

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